Some of the simplest things can become a toy: a can, a stick or even bottle caps strung together. Children will find a way to play, no matter how challenging their circumstances are.
Throughout Maureen and Ivor Massey's Fan home on Oct. 13, examples of toys that children make around the world sat on tables, mantels and sideboards. It was a fundraiser for ChildFund International (formerly Christian Children's Fund), an organization headquartered here in Richmond, and a chance for the Masseys to raise awareness about the mission and scope of this large, international charity.
"We're dedicated to working with kids to succeed in all stages of life," says Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund, "so that they can become effective adults and bring change to their community."
ChildFund was founded by Richmonder Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke. He started with just $2,000 and one school and orphanage in China in 1938. The organization, then known as China's Children Fund, grew and underwent several name changes as its reach extended throughout the world. It now helps children in 31 countries, and along with 11 other international children's organizations, it created the ChildFund Alliance.
"Everyone," Goddard says, "had a different name. We were working closer and closer together, and we realized we could have a bigger footprint" if just one name were adopted. All the organizations under the ChildFund umbrella endeavor to help parents keep children healthy, to educate children and to foster their self-confidence so "that they have the right skills as adults to take on their communities and make changes — we believe change comes from within," says Goddard.
Soon, ChildFund will start a new group with a local focus, Friends of Child Fund, aimed at demystifying the process of supporting ChildFund's mission for Richmonders. Julia Carr, senior associate, major gifts/mid-Atlantic, says, "ChildFund has been here for 70 years, and most people [in Richmond] are not aware of that, so we wanted to form this group … and of course, fundraising is an important part of that as well." Once it's up and running, Friends of ChildFund will be used as a model for groups in other major cities in the United States.
ChildFund is a cause Maureen Massey believes in. She not only donates, along with her husband, Ivor, both time and money, but also travels the world to visit programs and schools to get a hands-on perspective of the work the charity does.
"Maureen Massey has been on the board of ChildFund for many years," Goddard says. "[She] constantly wants the Richmond community to know more about … this organization."
To that end, Maureen and her husband invited friends and key ChildFund staff and board members to their newly renovated home. Along with Suellen Gregory, the Massey's interior designer, caterers Scott Ziegler and Carl Slayton of Silver Spoon, and floral designer Tommy Autry of Tommy's Garden, the already beautiful house was transformed into the perfect setting for the ChildFund event.
"This work is just so important," says Maureen. "I'll do anything I can to help."